What Boldness is Not

What Boldness is Not

I want to be bold. You know? I want to live a life that makes a difference and one where people don’t have to wonder who I really am or what I believe. I think that’s good. Right?

Lately, as I study the scriptures, I have been encouraged by the boldness of Jesus and His followers. Interestingly, what is standing out to me is what boldness is not.

As a personality expert, I spend an abnormal amount of time analyzing my personality type and it is, in most every way, bold. I’m not afraid to speak my mind (which does come in handy since I am a speaker), wear loud clothing or make decisions and stand by them. But, I’m slowly realizing that a big, loud personality is not the same thing as boldness — at least not boldness that is effective.

So, here are the top 4 things boldness is not:

1) Boldness is not arrogance. If I’m not careful, I can really twist this up. All it takes is a moment of self-righteousness and an attitude that says, “I am right. You are wrong,” to come off as arrogant. Even if those words never come out of your mouth, the attitude of your heart is always evident to others.

2) Boldness is not jumping up to be heard. When I try to visualize what boldness looks like, I see a brave — loud — person standing up in a room full of people and making some controversial, but important statement. Others applaud while some mock or get angry and, I cheer them on. Why? Because I like their courage. (It’s my personality’s issue, again.) But the kind of boldness that matters does not demand a crowd.

3) Boldness is not creating your own flashes of glory. Effective boldness waits and intently watches for opportunities composed by God as grand and divine appointments. Then seizes the moment. It’s more about being obedient and following the leading of the Holy Spirit than trying to manufacture times of intervention.

4) Boldness is not kicking opponents to the curb. Too often, we want to draw lines and pick fights in the name of boldness. When others don’t agree with us, we may think we are being “bold” by taking strong stands and sending challengers packing. We may feel better about ourselves for being so “strong,” but what we haven’t done is made any kind of difference.

So what is effective boldness then?

When I wrote King Hezekiah, Examining a Life of Bold Faith, I discovered a few insights about boldness. Hezekiah was one of the boldest people I’ve ever read about, but he wasn’t arrogant, he wasn’t just trying to make his point — he had to wait on the Lord to put him in a position for effectiveness, and he understood his opposition.

Let me tell you what he was that was so effective in turning the hearts of people: honest.

As soon as Hezekiah was crowned king, his first priority was being honest with the people. He neither sugar coated the mess they were in nor dwelt upon it. Later, when he found himself in desperation, facing death, he was honest before God in prayer. He held nothing back. Later yet, when he faced serious threats from a ruthless enemy, he was honest before God and his people about what could and should be done in order to be victorious. It was his ability to speak truth about circumstances and about God that made him so effective as a leader and as a king. Hezekiah was not perfect, nor did he always do the right thing, but he was truthful before God and before his people, and I believe God honored the integrity of his heart.

That is what boldness means. It means honesty with yourself, with God and with others. It means you have integrity in your heart that produces truth from your mouth.

A young lady I mentor sent me a podcast by Southern Hills Baptist Church in Bolivar, Mo. this week. To my delight, the speaker addressed this issue of boldness. He stressed the point that the biggest differences are made in the lives of others through the small moments when we speak the truth. We don’t need to be scripted, calculated or even prepared. We just need to tell the truth.

For example, when someone asks you how your day is going, tell them the truth. When someone asks you what you think about a controversial issue, tell them the truth. When they want to know how you do what you do and stay happy or sane, tell the truth. In doing so, the true believer and follower of Christ will always point back to Him. Watch this:

How am I doing today? Better than I deserve because God is gracious.

How do I do it? I depend on God for everything. He is my everything.

What do I think about that issue? Well, I do my best to know and trust God’s word and I’ve surrendered to what He has to say about it.

See how that works?

Perhaps if I would shift my energy from trying to impress, remain neutral, be inoffensive or from being fearful of rejection, I could reroute that energy into focusing on simple honesty that points to Christ. That’s bold.

Jaclyn Needs a Favor

Yesterday was my last day to teach King Hezekiah at the Community-Wide Ladies Bible study in Potosi, MO. What a unique and blessed experience! My heart was so encouraged by the faithfulness and response of the women. Thank you if you are one of the ladies who attended! What a beautiful group of women. God knows how far we’ve come and how thrilling it was for me to have had the opportunity to teach the study He placed on my heart. I fought for years to get out of the assignment to write a Bible study, but now, I am so thankful. I praise God for the power of His word!

Today, I’m writing in request mode. Unbelievable to me, I have people and ministry leaders requesting a DVD and Leader’s Guide to go along with the King Hezekiah study. It has taken my husband and I some time to figure out HOW to go about accomplishing these things, but through the Lord’s leading, we have a plan.

Saturday, May 3 we will be recording the DVD, LIVE at STL TV studios in St. Louis. I worked for the station for nine years and am thrilled they have taken on the project! Here’s the thing — I need a studio audience.

Ladies, are you available? Would you come? It will be fun.

Here are the details:

4971 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110

When: Saturday, May 3, 2014
9:30 a.m. – PROMPT ARRIVAL
10:00 a.m. – Filming Begins
12:30 p.m. – Filming Ends

What: Jaclyn will be teaching 5, 20-minute sessions. Please wear “camera ready” clothing. This means no white, no red and no crazy prints, especially with white. You will also need to wear makeup brighter than normal! 🙂

Please confirm your spot NO LATER THAN APRIL 29TH by contacting Kathy Silvey at 573-760-6102 or at katherinesilvey@yahoo.com. We must list all names of attendees with the studio. Space is limited.

DIRECTIONS from Potosi, MO: Hwy. 21 N. to 270 N. to 44 East. Exit at Hampton Road. Turn left going towards Zoo. Turn right onto Oakland Ave. (outer road towards Science Center). The STL Communications Division/ STL T.V. Studio will be on your left, just before Kingshighway. (The studio sits in the hillside and is brown brick…looks almost underground.)

Call Kathy if you have questions.

Your participation is GREATLY APPRECIATED!

If you can’t come, would you please pray! Not a day goes by that I don’t feel the weight of what God has asked and is requiring of me. I do not take these opportunities lightly. It will be a great challenge to deliver 5, 20 minute sessions LIVE, in one take, under the pressure of a DVD release. I want God to be honored and glorified; HIS NAME should be exalted. I want others to grow in knowledge of His word. His Word is LIFE to us. I want to be used by Him as I pour myself out, using the gifts He has handed down. I want to succeed because the gospel is at stake. I want Christ to have as many followers and worshipers as possible. He is worthy.

I want you to join me.

Please, pray.

Many Church Goers Do Not Worship God

For many months now, God has been stirring my heart, revealing Himself and asking me to truly worship Him — at church.  What a concept.

The truth is, I’ve been a worshiper for years.  Being a worshiper simply means you recognize who God is.  You meditate on His attributes; His great holiness, faithfulness and love (to name my top three) and as you do, you begin to see yourself appropriately by comparison.  Worship is extremely humbling and extremely satisfying.  When you find yourself lost in pure worship to God, all else, including thoughts of self, melts away and He is all there is.  Fulfillment comes because you were created for this very thing.

The other truth is, for years I mostly worshiped outside of my church gatherings.  (EEHEM)  Alone in my car, praise in the shower, at Christian concerts or conferences, FREEDOM to worship seemed much easier to find.  But, put me in a Sunday service at church and forget about it.  Too distracted and too well trained.

God has clearly shown me how messed up my worship was and has also opened my eyes to the reality that I’m far from alone.

There are countless articles and opinions out there on “what’s wrong with the church.”  Well, I’ll throw my hat in the ring with this statement: Churches are busy dragging people into serving a God they do not worship. 

Church leaders across the land beg for people to help.  Please volunteer.  Sign-up to serve.  Please GIVE.  “The fields are white for harvest, but the laborers are few!”  Why?  It’s exhausting and difficult to serve and give to a God you don’t worship.  You may serve others and you may serve your church, but your service won’t last because people disappoint and “burn out” kicks in.  And thus, the cycle of dragging people in and out of service in the church continues.

Every time I find examples of service and giving in scripture it comes after an encounter with God where He has been magnified and He has been worshiped.  I believe if a church is not bearing fruit that looks a lot like people wanting to serve and people freely giving, the issue is worship.  Always worship.

I realize my claim that most church goers are not worshiping God is a rather judgmental statement.  How can I know whether or not someone is worshiping God?  Well, I can’t.  However, I think I can know when someone is not.  You’re not worshiping God when you are focused on self.  You’re not worshiping God when you are distracted by what other people think of you.  You’re not worshiping God when you are angry and harboring bitterness against someone else.  You’re not worshiping God when you have that sour, mean look on your face.  Sorry, but you’re not.

It’s easy to recognize fake worship because I’ve been guilty of it myself.

Week after week thousands of Christians enter church buildings and attend WORSHIP services where worship never happens.  Sure, there is music and prayer and even preaching, but the majority of attendees half-heartedly sing — if they sing at all — give little to no thought to the words and worse, little to no thought to God.  They won’t pick up a Bible and look at the preaching text.  And they whine about the sermon.  Why are we going to church?!

When I wrote the Bible study, King Hezekiah, I was awestruck by the scene found in 2 Chronicles chapter 29 — a picture of worship.  The people had been restored to a right relationship with God, their hearts were turned toward Him and they worshiped.  There were instruments (plural), singers (thousands) and LOUD music for DAYS.  They fell on their faces in humility before God and truly worshiped Him.  There was no discussion about who was leading, what style would please the most ears, what the song list was or how many songs should be played.  Those things don’t matter when the throne of God Almighty is the focus.  It was a scene of uninhibited joy and praise before the Lord.  Their focus was on a powerful and holy God who had rescued them from their sin when He could have crushed them. They were full of gratitude for His mercy and grace.  After they worshiped, they brought in an abundance of gifts to the Lord, so much so that King Hezekiah had to have more storehouses built to hold what the people gave.  They gave sacrificially.  They wanted to.  Out of hearts of worship came hearts of service and giving.  It was the same in the New Testament churches.

So, what’s our problem?  Here are three points to consider:

  • 1. We don’t worship because we don’t understand who God is. The church needs to be discipled.  We need to learn the scriptures and we need to learn them alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ.  God has revealed Himself to us through His word and through His creation.
  • 2. We don’t worship because we don’t accept that we were made for worship. Hello?  Nothing else on this planet satisfies and fulfills the human soul but worship to the creator God. However, we spend the majority of our time believing we were made for something or someone else.
  • 3. And the most frustrating of all — is that often we (church attendees) don’t worship because we don’t think we are supposed to.  It’s not appropriate in our churches to be filled with the Spirit, to weep, to raise our hands, to shout, to speak praise or to sing at the top of our lungs.  (Perhaps even more so if you are female.)  We are far too dignified.  Do we see our leaders (pastors and deacons and elders and teachers) worshiping God with uninhibited praise and joy before the Lord?  Um, no.  We see them stuck in tradition or so afraid to let go and be free themselves, we don’t know what to do.  We are afraid to embrace worship.  We quench the Spirit for the sake of everyone else’s comfort and we keep worship locked down inside us where we’ve been trained to believe it belongs.  Ask around.  You’ll learn this is true.

King Hezekiah lead his people in worship.  He was an example to his people.  He wasn’t worried about what people thought about the music or the timing.  He cared for his people, but mostly He was busy passionately loving His God.  And the king’s worship was contagious.

I love my church.  I love the church.  It’s just time to let go.  It’s time to find freedom in Christ. It’s time to get serious about being a disciples who make disciples and about doing the one thing we were created for!

I’m asking God to begin with me.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.       John 4:23